Following network's lead, CNN.com uncritically aired McCain's false attack on Obama's health care plan

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

CNN.com's Political Ticker blog uncritically repeated the false claim by Sen. John McCain that Sen. Barack Obama favors "hav[ing] the government take over the health care system in America." In fact, Obama has called for individuals to choose their own insurance and has not proposed that the "government take over the health care system in America." CNN has repeatedly uncritically aired -- or repeated -- similar attacks by McCain.

In a July 17 post on CNN.com's Political Ticker blog, producer Peter Hamby uncritically repeated the false claim by Sen. John McCain that Sen. Barack Obama favors "hav[ing] the government take over the health care system in America." Hamby wrote: "McCain's strongest denunciation of Obama came when discussing the Democrat's health care plan, which would cost $50-65 billion per year but would not mandate insurance coverage for all adults, only children. 'My friends, we've seen this movie before,' McCain said. 'It was called 'HillaryCare' back in 1993, and we're not going to do it again. We're not going to have the government take over the health care system in America.' " In fact, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted when CNN uncritically aired -- or repeated -- similar attacks by McCain, Obama has not proposed that the "government take over the health care system in America"; Obama has called for individuals to choose their own insurance.

The New York Times reported in a May 3 article that McCain has repeatedly "inaccurately described the Democrats' health care proposals, using language that evokes the specter of socialized medicine" and quoted McCain claiming that Obama favors a "government massive intervention and takeover of health care in America." The Times wrote that McCain's "suggestion is incorrect" and that Obama "would maintain the existing private insurance system, providing government subsidies or tax credits to help the low-income uninsured afford premiums. And they would give consumers a new option to buy insurance from the federal government, with policies along the lines of Medicare."

In contrast with CNN.com, Wall Street Journal reporter Laura Meckler challenged McCain's false attack on Obama's health care plan in a July 17 post on the newspaper's Washington Wire blog, writing of Obama's plan that that "most outside observers agree it is far from a government takeover of the health care system."

From CNN.com's July 17 Political Ticker post:

McCain's strongest denunciation of Obama came when discussing the Democrat's health care plan, which would cost $50-65 billion per year but would not mandate insurance coverage for all adults, only children.

"My friends, we've seen this movie before," McCain said. "It was called 'HillaryCare' back in 1993, and we're not going to do it again. We're not going to have the government take over the health care system in America."

At a later moment in the town hall, when stressing his own bipartisan record, McCain accused Obama of generally having "the most extreme record of any member of the United States Senate."

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
CNN
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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